Cloud Adoption Quickens, But Not Without Issues

Challenges
related to the cloud aren’t stopping businesses from adopting the service
delivery model.

That’s
according to a new survey by Network Instruments
of 94 network engineers, IT managers and executives who attended the recent
Interop networking event.

The
results showed a surprisingly large increase in cloud service adoption in the
last year, but it also demonstrated the challenges related to troubleshooting
and monitoring when it comes to moving to the cloud.

Network
Instruments’ survey this year marks the fifth time the company has conducted
the survey of IT professionals and executives at Interop, and according to Brad
Reinboldt, product marketing manager at Network Instruments, the biggest
surprise this year was a 20 percent increase cloud service adoption over last
year.

“Based
on my experience with virtualization, I was surprised we saw a 20 percent
increase in the number of folks embracing cloud. I thought there would have
been more cautiousness in doing so,” Reinboldt said. He noted the change as
being fairly significant and proof that businesses understand and are embracing
the benefits of cloud computing.

However,
there is a trade-off. With the rise in adoption of cloud computing, there’s
also the worry that it comes at the cost of a decline or lack of improvement in
troubleshooting (noted by 60 percent of survey respondents) and that monitoring
of applications has also worsened or remained the same (stated by 52 percent of
respondents).

“When
these types of solutions and technologies operate to their optimal, they add
tremendous value and you see that value right away,” Reinboldt said. He
compared cloud today to the challenges of VoIP half a decade ago. It held great
promise, but then there were hiccups that needed to be resolved before the
technology could really come into its own.

From
an infrastructure perspective, certain applications don’t immediately port over
to the cloud very well, particularly what Reinboldt called “chatty apps.” Many
applications worked well internally on a LAN
but then didn’t transfer well over to the cloud. The survey results indicated
that the percentage of applications being run in the cloud will grow from 21
percent to 38 percent by mid-2012. In time, the user experience will improve,
much as it did with VoIP, but Reinboldt  noted that the survey results show that IT
professionals are beginning to experience challenges in deploying cloud
services.

Of
the 94 survey respondents to the survey, 61 percent said they have cloud
computing services running on their networks now. Half of those organizations
are running some form of SaaS, such as Salesforce.com or Google Apps. The
number of organizations that have implemented SaaS to some degree increased by
10 percent over the 2010 Interop survey.

As
many industry insiders have suggested over the last year or more, the private
cloud is showing considerable growth. Of the respondents, 50 percent have
deployed private clouds, which is a 21 percent increase over last year’s survey
results. Additionally, 21 percent of respondents said they were relying
platform-as-a-service (PaaS) such as Microsoft Azure or Salesforce.com Force.

Although
businesses are clearly facing some challenges in using cloud services, they’re
also realizing the benefits. For instance, 61 percent of respondents indicated
that application availability improved once they’d deployed cloud services.
Only 4 percent said their application availability decreased. Also, 52 percent
said the end-user experience improved after deploying cloud services, whereas
only 4 percent noted a decline. More than half of respondents also stated that
their ability to scale applications had increased after deploying cloud
services.

“Clearly,
the survey shows there really is value, bottom line-wise for a company to do
this, but they have to take into account that there is another variable in the
equation,” Reinboldt said. There’s a need to understand how cloud-based
applications are going to behave in their individual environments, he added.

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